Writer/Artist Shane Davis has a new creator-owned comic hitting shelves on October 7 that mixes fantasy and reality, all set along the backdrop of video gaming. Alongside him is inker Michelle Delecki and colorist Morry Hollowell. Davis talked to us about the new upcoming series, AXCEND, and what we can expect from the new book.
COMIC VINE: What's AXCEND all about?
SHANE DAVIS: Axcend is about the line where fantasy ends and reality begins. It's about power and consequences. In Axcend we will follow Eric Morn, a surviving twin,as he is chosen to be 1 of 3 to beta test a new online world called Axcend, but the game will follow the players back into the real world. The three players are Morn, Rayne a drug addicted pop-star, and Ruin the mysterious viscous player of Axcend that seems unbeatable. Morn and Rayne will have to put aside their differences and with the aid of Axcend's A.I.,DOG, to get to the 3rd player before he activates here.
CV: What inspired the series?
DAVIS: That's a tough question. A lot of things over the years. Things I see with school bullying... violence on the news. I wanted to tell a story that had a sense of real consequence and gravity. This is a story I could never do at the big two.
CV: Do you play a lot of video games? If so, what are some of your favorites?
DAVIS: I have for years, dating back to Super Mario, to Tekken, Resident Evil. The Last of Us is one of my favorites.
CV: The first issue does deal with some heavy issues like bullying and depression as well as escapism. Can you tell us more about weaving these elements into the book?
DAVIS: I really wanted to tackle the bullying theme a bit. This will be an underlying theme with all three players' lives. Rayne aka RAIN is unique as she is under pressure with bullying on a tabloid scale. Bullying and escapism just go together, the reaction to the action. With Ruin, bullying made him the viscous angry player he is. When he bleeds over into the real world, he will want to keep playing, killing, getting XP...growing. He will see himself as the world's consequence. He feels the world has always been against him, and now he will have the power to be a global threat.
CV: Your wife is working on this book as well, doing inks. Do you find it tougher or a bit easier working with someone you're that close with?
DAVIS: We have been working together for a bit, so it's not really new. She has a great line and handle on things. She honestly make my pencils look like gold. She really brings a lot to the book, and I'm not sure I could have done it without her.
CV: How did Morry Hollowell get involved with the book?
DAVIS: I worked with Morry a bit, so I figured I would invite him to work on the project. His modeling style really complements things. It really comes together!
CV: Did you find working on the writing and the pencils to be a daunting task?
DAVIS: Not really, I have a unique approach. Pages that are heavy dialogue scenes, I write then draw. Scenes with movement or not dialogue driven, I draw them and then write the dialogue. It kind of gives the book a free-range feel. It's more natural. I tell the story in layouts, but that is how I think. I feel this approach makes sense as it's a visual medium and not a novel. I don't really understand writing a comicbook to hear yourself talk, and there are some writers that do that. I am more concerned with a visual type of story-telling and the overall story being told.
CV: On one page of the first issue, we get this three panel page (page 18) with Eric and it's a completely different style of art. Was this you on art and will we see this style pop up again in the series?
DAVIS: That art-style is a derivative of the relation of Eric and his deceased twin Erin. If Erin plays a part in the future of Axcend I would probably use that art style again.
CV: You've had success at both Marvel and DC. What made you want to delve into creator-owned books?
DAVIS: I like making new characters. I recently looked back at some old drawings I did when I was a 13 year old kid. There were a lot of characters I designed then. It is obvious to me that is something that I like doing. I designed a lot of the Red Lanterns, Dex-starr, Bleez, Skallox, Zillious Zox, etc. It is always fun bringing in new characters to a project when you can. I really wanted to have fun with this at Image.
Thanks to Shane Davis for answering our questions and make sure to check out AXCEND when it comes out on October 7.